Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD)‘s
hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, which comes at a cost of $1,000 a pill, has
proved to be a breakthrough that reduces treatment time to 12 weeks and
at reduced risk compared to a year-long treatment option available.
However, this heavily-priced therapy has raised concerns and criticisms
across the U.S. by payers and consumer support groups.
To consider the impact of Sovaldi’s
$84,000 12-week treatment cost, the Veterans Affairs Department provides
this therapy only to the sickest patients who need it. The Department
is the largest single provider of hepatitis C care in the U.S., which
enabled it to negotiate more than 40% discount to the $594 per-dose
price with Gilead.
VA and Hepatitis C Care
The Veterans Affairs Department added
Sovaldi to its formulary in April 2014. It treated around 5,400 veterans
at a cost of $370 million with Sovaldi in fiscal 2014, and has asked
Congress for $1.3 billion to treat another 30,000 patients with Sovaldi
and other new hepatitis C drugs.
Labels: cost of treatment, Gilead, unfair pricing, VA